General Motors has set a deadline of December 31, 2014 for those who were seriously injured or family member of loved ones that died as a result of the vehicle defect to file a car accident lawsuit. The company is expecting a spike in claims over the next few weeks, as the end of the year approaches.
Dozens of wrongful death claims pending
Currently, dozens of wrongful death claims have been filed with the company as a result of a faulty ignition switch in some GM vehicles. Thirty of those claims have been approved for payment to date, according to a report at NBC News. The company began accepting claims on August 1 and has received more than 1,500 involving injury or death.
The company has reserved $600 million to pay all wrongful death and serious injury claims, but some expect that number to go much higher. Kenneth Feinberg, who is overseeing the payout program for GM admits those reserves may be inadequate, based on the rate of claims being filed. He has also told Bloomberg that some payments may have to be processed early in 2015, due to the spike the company is expecting just before the end of 2014.
Faulty ignition switch to blame
A faulty ignition switch is the culprit behind the accidents that led to the GM recall. According to the company’s website, the ignition switch can move out of the “run” position in some circumstances, rendering airbags inoperable in the event of a crash. In addition, some vehicles may also allow the key to be removed from the ignition when the vehicle is not in “park” position, leading to unexpected movement of the vehicle.
Vehicles affected by the defect, which include some Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Saturns, have since been recalled by GM. Repairs can be performed on the ignition switch, free of charge, to ensure a safer driving experience. However, the company has been accused of failing to act on reports of the problem for 11 years, exposing thousands of drivers of GM vehicles to potential risk. Even when the company began replacing faulty ignition switches, it failed to notify the public of the problem, according to an internal investigation.
Help from GM recall fatality lawyers
Now, the company has put aside reserves to compensate those that have been injured or killed by the defective vehicles. A separate website has been established for accident victims to help them file the appropriate claim within the allotted time frame. On that website, the company acknowledges it has agreed to pay whatever the administrator of the claims program determines to be appropriate, with no cap instituted at this time.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one to a defective GM vehicle, legal help is available. The Maine wrongful death lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing are working with victims to file claims and pursue the damages they are entitled to receive. Contact us today at 1-800-INJURED to get your legal questions answered and a free evaluation of your case.